A Slip In The Right Direction by author Rachel Berry

 

A Slip In The Right Direction by author and poet Rachel Berry

A Slip In The Right Direction, a coming-of-age story for tweens & teens.  The story of life, puppy love, and lessons, as seen through the eyes of a 14-year-old young man coming-of-age in Chicago.
 
Homesick for his life and friends back home, a family move forces 14 year old Clifton Henderson, aka Slip, to grow up on the north side of Chicago. In his mind, life sucks at the moment and can’t get any worse. But it does. A kidnapping by gang members, a crush on a girl playing hard to get, a strict father, a mysterious neighbor, and the gift of premonitions all help take him on a ride of life until eventually he takes A Slip In The Right Direction.
 

Five questions that the book asks readers or society
 
1.       What do you feel are some of the reasons that make our youth turn to gangs, and what as a society can we do to change this?

2.       Can good home training and instilling family values totally prevent our kids from making bad choices?

3.       Does creating a good family image mean we should push our children to make choices or responsibilities they might not be ready for?

4.       How does the coming-of-age process effect boys differently from girls and then later on as an adult?

5.       What are the pros and cons of discreetly involving and relaying family challenges and situations to our children when they reach a certain age, and what is that age?

» A Slip In The Right Direction by Author & Poet Rachel Berry
On Sale Now  or  request at your local bookstore
ISBN-10: 0982778201   |    ISBN-13: 978-0982778203
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Slip-Right-Direction-Rachel-Berry/dp/0982778201
 

 

» Meet author Rachel Berry
Rachel Berry is a word-fairy that enjoys the craft of words that create and inspire life and people. As an author & poet Rachel feels blessed to have the creative opportunity of expression. Berry is also a motivational speaker, mentor, community leader, independent book publisher, entrepreneur, columnist for SORMAG, and host of From The Heart & Soul show on Blog Talk Radio.

She currently resides in Virginia with her husband, adult children, grandchildren, and parents.  Rachel puts family first and enjoys life in Virginia. When she’s not writing, she also enjoys reading, dining out, traveling, and watching movies. She accredits her gain in blessings and achievements to her relationship and guidance from her creator, association with great women, positive family members, loyal friends, the upbringing of an amazing woman-her mother, and the support and love of her husband and children.
» Connect with Rachel Berry, CEO Kimathi Enterprises & Publishing Company
http://www.RachelBerry.webs.com
http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/Lady-Serenity
http://www.google.com/profiles/AuthorRachelBerry

Intimate Conversation with author Rachel Berry

 

Intimate Conversation with author Rachel Berry
 

Author Rachel Berry grew up in Newark, East Orange, and Orange, NJ. She is a wife, proud mother of four adults, grandmother of two gorgeous girls, a published author and poet, motivational speaker, radio talk show host, columnist for SORMAG and community leader.  As founder and president of a social group, this artist juggles a full schedule. “Black Pearls United INC” (an African American sister-circle) was founded in 2000.

Rachel is an alumni of Toastmasters International where she served as Sergeant at Arms, earned her CTM and Toastmaster of The Year award. Rachel’s book ‘Family Pictures’ made the EDC Creations 2009 best books list and she is an AFLA 2010 nominee. Mrs. Berry’s speaking engagements include ILMW (The International League Of Muslim Women), Hampton Social Services, Heritage Elementary School, Healthy Family Partnership, The Red Hat Society, Norfolk Methodist Church, Sixth House and Everest College to name a few.

Rachel puts family first and enjoys life in Virginia. When she’s not writing, she also enjoys reading, dining out, traveling, and watching movies. She accredits her gain in blessings and achievements to her relationship and guidance from her creator, association with great women, positive family members, loyal friends, the upbringing of an amazing woman-her mother, and the support and love of her husband and children.

BPM: Rachel, introduce us to your book, A Slip In The Right Direction, and the main characters.
RB: A Slip In The Right Direction – The Clifton Henderson series is a coming-of-age book written especially for tween and teen boys. The story takes place in Chicago and speaks to you through the eyes of 14 year-old Clifton Henderson aka Slip. Slip isn’t happy about his recent move, or having to start all over in a new school, and make new friends.

Also, a crush on a schoolmate who in the beginning doesn’t notice him, the yearning for his father’s approval as a young man, sibling rivalry, the gift of premonition, and a certain mysterious neighbor, all add color to his daily life. However, things really heat up for this young man when he’s kidnapped by gang members and his home training and family values are tested. Slip’s parents are Evelyn and Morris Henderson, and they too find themselves dealing with a few familiar challenges of their own as a couple, parents, dealing with career changes, and personal struggles.

BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write your book?
RB: I wrote this book because I want young men to have more available to read than just sports, comics, and SCI FI. I want young men to read and rise above the stigma that they don’t. I want our young boys to have someone to relate to that’s going through some of the things they’re experiencing and to know good guys have a life too and it’s alright to have values and principles. And, I want young ladies to understand some of the things young men go through.

BPM: Take us inside the book. What are two major events taking place?
RB: One major event that takes place is when Slip is kidnapped by gang members and unwillingly becomes involved with a robbery. Since he has been raised with family values he knows stealing and robbery is wrong. But when he finds himself in a good place at a bad time, he does what he believes is in the best interest of the people being robbed and goes along with the robbery as if he’s a willing participant. Once he’s alone and in the company of this bad influence he experiences what so many youth find happens to them, he begins to question his home training.

Also another ongoing event or more of a growing revelation throughout the story is the relationship and challenges that Slip’s parents discover, face, and eventually resolve. The father is very strict and believes his wife babies their son, yet he spends very little time with him because he’s trying to make money for the family. The mother is unhappy having given up her career for the move and has become a housewife looking for fulfillment. However, I’m proud that both situations provide enlightenment and growth for Slip, his parents, and other people around them.

BPM: Who were your favorites? Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
RB: Slip is definitely my favorite because we get to see him grow. We watch him go through some of the natural occurrences of young manhood and also see him help others. I like the fact too that through him we get to witness how our young people sometimes see, feel, and experience their family life. I also like Zena, the object of his puppy love: she’s a feisty character like many young ladies her age. Evelyn Henderson I think surely portrays the thread of her family, I like her spirit. And yes, I think these characters portray people most of us are familiar with in one way or another.

BPM: What are some of their specific issues, needs or problems addressed in this book?
RB: Well this is a coming-of-age story so I wanted to address a few things 14 year-old boys go through at that age. Things like: first kiss and puppy love, sibling rivalry, wanting to be heard, recognized and understood: in this case Slip wants all this from his dad. The story also briefly addresses and without being preachy the importance of staying a virgin until married, the perils of bad association, drinking, and smoking. Also, I show how family issues affect our children whether they speak on it or not. As parents we can’t be with our children all the time and there are times our kids are faced with tough people and touch choices, but if we raise them right most of the time then can prevail over them. This story shows that and also shows how we as parents have growing to do as well.

BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject? Share a few of your reviews.
RB: My story is different because I chose to write it from a child’s point of view and simply show realistically that as parents and a family unit that we all have growing to do. I also feel my story is different because it also shows that while a two parent home is best for a child, providing is not all there is.

A child needs a parent’s attention and time as well. Then, to add entertainment and excitement for the young curious mind I gave Slip the whimsical gift of premonition, an asset that adds a bit of mystery to his life almost as much as his quest to discover who his mysterious neighbor is. So you have a mixture of real life issues and discoveries, sprinkled with a little mystery and suspense. I’ve also included 10 workbook questions at the end of the book to query the reader about what they got from the story and to address some things going on in their own life. Also, as a poet I wanted to entertain the reader in another way and did the synopsis poetically and included another poem at the end.

Early reviews for Young Adult Novella: A Slip In the Right Direction
 “A Slip In The Right Direction speaks to an all too familiar reality of America’s Black and Brown folk who are in a day-today struggle to survive.”
—Bruce George, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam and Founder of The Bandana Republic

 “…Thought provoking and well written. Young readers will be texting their friends about the book and eagerly awaiting the sequel.”
—-Brian W. Smith, bestselling author of the novel BEATER

BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer? Who are your mentors?
RB: I believe my power comes from the love of people and getting to know the “human condition.” I care about people, who they are, and why they do what they do, what motivates and drives them. I try to relay what I learn through my characters. My greatest mentor is my mother. Even now as a senior citizen she’s teaching me and showing me about how the twilight years of ones life can be. But seasoned writers like Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, J California Cooper and Zora Neale Hurston are on my list of admired wordsmiths. But trust me, that list is extended by a lot of new artists too, too long to list here.

BPM:   A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence:  My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… 
RB:  My writing offers the following legacy to future readers… write from your heart & soul, believe in yourself, and your message will touch the heart & soul of others.
 
BPM:  Share with us your latest news or upcoming book releases.   
RB:  I am working on a few things which include two adult novels. How Easy We Forget which is the story of a bored housewife and mother who goes outside her family looking for gratification and brings back serious problems for herself and family, but ultimately learns the lesson of being thankful for what you have or you can lose it. Also another family saga, Between The Tears And The Laughter, which takes place in Louisiana and is about the squabbles, lives, loves, and lessons of five siblings and how they gain insight into the real relation and secrets between their parents.
Also, I’m working on another chapbook of short stories and poetry entitled, It Just Ran Across My Mind. The Clifton Henderson series also continues next year with part 2 – A Stranger Called Me. This time Slip is about 16 in this story, now he’s got the girl, he’s a little cockier, a bit wiser, very popular, and just like his family and friends sometimes he doesn’t recognize who he has become or his own actions. His gift of premonition has increased and he’s weighed down with the knowledge of what to do about his neighbor who is no longer a mystery.
 
BPM:  How can our readers reach you online? Share with us your online contact information.
RB:  I can be reached at my cyber home which is  http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/  and upcoming a home for Slip and his readers at: http://www.thecliftonhendersonseries.com/blog.   I’m always happy to hear from my readers and can be reached at: rachelwrites2@yahoo.com
 

Intimate Conversation with award winning writer Katie McCabe

Intimate Conversation with award winning writer Katie McCabe

Katie McCabe is a National Magazine Award winner whose Washingtonian article on black surgical legend Vivien Thomas formed the basis for the HBO film Something the Lord Made, one of the highest rated original movies in HBO history and the winner of the 2004 Emmy and 2005 Peabody Awards. McCabe’s 2009 book Justice Older than the Law, co-authored with pioneering lawyer Dovey Roundtree, won the Association of Black Women Historians’ Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize. For her work in science and medical journalism, McCabe has been honored with awards for investigative reporting (William Allen White Award, 1991) and public service (National Magazine Award finalist, 1986).

» First Lady Michelle Obama saluted Dovey Johnson Roundtree on the occasion of the book’s Washington, DC launch.

“She [Dovey Johnson Roundtree] has clearly demonstrated that even in the face of enormous challenges, an unblinking belief in equality and justice will spur real change. I am inspired by Ms. Roundtree, and I hope that her story continues to motivate all Americans to fight for our shared values. It is on the shoulders of people like Dovey Johnson Roundtree that we stand today, and it is with her commitment to our core ideals that we will continue moving toward a better tomorrow.”
— quote from First Lady Michelle Obama, July 2009

AUDIO SNEAK PEEK FROM THE BOOK
» Katie McCabe reading from Chapter One, “Walking Unafraid,” about Dovey Roundtree’s courageous Grandma Rachel, the woman Dovey calls “the greatest warrior I ever knew.”
Listen here now: http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/WC3S5tj4

BPM: Katie, what can readers expect when they open a book created by you?
KM: I believe my power as a writer derives from my lifelong love affair with words and literature, my sense of the compelling stories hidden beneath the surface of outward events, and my fascination with unsung heroes. These passions came from my late parents, John and Kathleen Burns. They exemplified for me the kind of nobility and courage I endeavor to portray over and over again in my non-fiction as I seek out heroes and heroines whose lives have profoundly altered our world but whom history has forgotten or marginalized. My goal is to portray these history-makers with the vividness of fiction, and to bring them alive for future generations.

BPM: Discuss your approach to writing and your latest book, Justice Older than the Law, in particular.
KM: “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one.” – Nicolo Machiavelli

As a writer, I’ve chosen to portray individuals who defied existing systems and conventional notions of power, and in doing that, I’ve challenged my readers’ assumptions about the way that history is altered and the world changed.

One of my first articles for Washingtonian magazine, “Like Something the Lord Made,” told the little-known story of black heart surgery pioneer Vivien Thomas, a man who had changed the course of medical history so quietly that he was virtually unknown outside the rarefied circle of Johns Hopkins surgeons he trained. In my article, I brought from obscurity the story of this extraordinary man who changed the course of medical history without ever having obtained a medical degree or even attending college. It was the sheer force of his brilliance and the power of his character that enabled Thomas, in his capacity as laboratory technician to the powerful white surgeon Alfred Blalock, to carve out a revolutionary role for himself and to propel heart surgery into the modern age. At a time when the only black employees at Johns Hopkins Hospital were the janitors, Vivien Thomas ran the surgical lab, trained dozens of white med students who would go on to become the most famous heart surgeons in America, and most importantly, partnered with Dr. Blalock in an extraordinary interracial collaboration that defied every stereotype of their time and place. Together, the two made medical history, accomplishing things together that neither one could have done alone. Vivien Thomas shattered stereotypes for black men during Jim Crow, proving by the sheer force of his intellect and his character that he could contribute mightily to medicine at the most complex level. He challenged the status quo by excelling and by surviving within a deeply flawed society, and in so doing he lodged a powerful and eloquent protest against the evil of segregation.

KM: Pioneering lawyer, veteran and minister Dovey Johnson Roundtree, the subject of my 2002 Washingtonian article “She Had a Dream” and my 2009 book Justice Older than the Law (which I co-authored with Dovey Roundtree), was a woman who challenged deeply entrenched racism and sexism on a number of levels over her 50-year career. She shattered the color and gender bars in the World War II military as one of the 40 women selected by the great activist Mary McLeod Bethune to integrate the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. As one of only five women in her class at Howard University Law School (1947-1950), she challenged gender stereotypes in the law, and went on to transform the rigidly segregated legal system of the Nation’s Capital as the first black member of the DC Women’s Bar. Even as she overturned hardened prejudice in Washington’s legal community against blacks and women, she led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which had resisted the ordination of women for decades. When Dovey Roundtree was ordained to the ministry in 1961, she was among the first women to rise to that status within the male-dominated church.

I believe I am drawn to stories of unconventional heroes and heroines because I myself defy classification as a white woman who has chosen to celebrate the life stories of African Americans. I have learned that this unsettles some readers because it challenges existing systems, but I have also seen that many people have been inspired by the way in which I have crossed racial lines in the course of my career. In choosing to bring to the world the stories of quiet revolutionaries like Vivien Thomas and Dovey Roundtree, I believe I have illuminated a particular kind of power that is very different from that which we see in our politicians and big business entrepreneurs. Those who change the world by the force of their nobility and tenacity, who quietly challenge the status quo and manage to hold onto their sense of selves in the midst of a hostile society have much to teach all of us about how to live our lives.

BPM: What social issues do you address in your latest book, Justice Older than the Law? How is this book affecting the public?
KM: I have never been a “political writer” in that I have never set out to address any social issues. I am a storyteller, and my goal is to pass along stories that matter, that illuminate lives that exemplify nobility, courage, tenacity, faith and goodness. All truly great stories change the world, and they do so precisely because they come in “under the radar” of our critical sense and move our hearts and minds. When I set out to write Dovey Roundtree’s story, I did so because I was enthralled with her life experience and with her personal charisma. Having said that, I do believe that Justice Older than the Law speaks importantly to some of the most critical issues of our time. Contemporary America urgently needs this book. As we contemplate at fifty years’ distance the meaning of Brown v. Board in the light of recent Supreme Court rulings, as we struggle with issues of race at every turn, there is a sense that we’ve lost our bearings. What is justice? What sort of a society are we aiming toward? How can we capture the values we seem to have lost? How do we arrest what Dovey calls “the demon of violence” that is destroying our cities? To be able to tap into the world view of a 96-year-old living legend who brought her fight into the streets, the jailhouses, the churches, and ultimately, into the hearts of the individuals to whom she ministered, is an extraordinary opportunity, I believe, for people of all races.

BPM: What are you most proud of as a writer in today’s market?
KM: I have endeavored to pass on to the next generation of readers the stories of men and women who have prevailed over almost insuperable odds to achieve greatness in medicine, in the law, in athletics, and in public service. I believe that my legacy as a writer is that I have brought to life some truly extraordinary examples of the triumph of the human spirit. These examples speak to people of all races and backgrounds about what is possible when one draws strength from mentors and taps into one’s own well of courage, faith and tenacity.

In today’s market, which is dominated by books and movies that glorify violence, brutality and sexuality run rampant, I choose to tell stories that celebrate the eternal values, and I think that sets me apart from the mainstream.

BPM: How may readers contact you for more information and to find out more about the book?
KM: Visit us at http://www.justiceolderthanthelaw.com, the web site address for the book, and there is a link there to email Katie McCabe (at mccabe.kathleen@gmail.com)

Justice Older than the Law by Katie McCabe
Purchase your copy today!
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 160473132X
http://www.amazon.com/Justice-Older-than-Law-Roundtree/dp/160473132X

Intimate Conversation with author Renee Wiggins

Intimate Conversation with author Renee Wiggins



Renee Wiggins is the owner of Results By Renee, a wellness company based in Maryland. Her mission is to help people achieve optimum health through nutrition, fitness and supplemented with stress reduction techniques.



Ms. Wiggins designs lifestyle programs for individuals and groups. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Massage Therapist.


Listen to various health related coaching sessions by Renee, by clicking here today. 


BPM: Renee, please introduce us to your latest self-help motivational book, Transformations: Give UP The Struggle.
RW: Transformations: Give UP The Struggle is a unique collection of affirmations written to encourage readers to break the chains of negative thoughts and actions, to embrace the positive aspects of change and to take the necessary steps to live a happy, fulfilling life. We all have had our ups and down in our lives, some more than others. But, how we end up in the end, determines how we actually see the storms. The storms help us to change to a better and stronger person.


BPM: How did the title of your book, Transformations: Give UP The Struggle, come about?
RW: I was searching for a word that would express the idea of change, so I came up with four different titles that embodied that concept and I sent them to friends, family members and colleagues I trusted. With their help, I came up with the word” Transformations”, as I thought, that really got to the core to the message I wanted to share. I added the “Give UP The Struggle because I wanted the reader to know in order to transform, one must give up. Thus the title, ” Transformations: Give UP The Struggle’ was born.


BPM: What specific situation or revelation prompted you to write Transformations?
RW: As a diabetes educator, nutritionist, and personal trainer, I hear a lot about the struggles my client’s experiences. And as I’ve listen to them over the years, I soon began to realize that many of these men and women were in unpleasant, unhealthy situations because they were unable to break bad habits and unable to realize that making simple changes in their lives could make the difference they desired. So I wrote the affirmations in this book as a way of teaching people that their chain can be broken and that they I wrote Transformations” Give UP The Struggle as a way to let people know that just as a caterpillar grows wings and transforms into a butterfly, they too, must also be open to similar evolutionary process in their lives.


BPM: Are the affirmations a representation of your life?
RW: Yes, some of these affirmations come deep within my soul, while others were birthed from the experiences men and women have shared with me regarding their own personal struggles.  I want to reach men and women from the ages of 18 years to 92 years of age, who are entering a storm or going through a storm. The affirmations presented in this book can be a turning point in the reader’s life.


RW: The central themes of my book revolve around encouraging and empowering my readers to embrace their struggle as life lessons that they can move from their current situation toward greatness. I ‘m happy to have these themes in the form of affirmations because research has shown that people who recite and /or live by affirmations have a more positive attitude.


BPM: What is your best advice to anyone who wants to be a writer?
RW: I encourage writers to take classes, workshops, travel to seminars, connect with other writers, join groups and most of all, and help other writers without hesitation.


BPM: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
RW: I am currently writing part two of my current book, Transformations: Give UP The Struggle. This book will be a collection of stories of people who successfully danced through some of life’s most turbulent storms. It s my hope that these stories will provide the strength and guidance others may need to change their lives for the better.


BPM: How can readers reach you online?
Readers can find more info on me and purchase the book at:  http://www.resultsbyrenee.com/.  Follow me on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/giveupthestrugg for diet tips, health tips and more.


Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here: http://www.blackpearlsmagazine.com/